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Best Bike Locks in 2021

A bike secured to a fence with the Best Bicycle Lock.

The Best Bicycle Bike Locks & Security in 2021

Bicycling Magazine reports that two million bikes are stolen every year. That makes bike theft a billion dollar problem, especially in the city.  As if that isn’t bad enough, bikes are usually not even reported as missing, and even if they are, only a small fraction are recovered. Because of this, we put together the best bike locks of 2021 guide.

Tracking down a stolen bike is hard and time consuming work. Even the best efforts to recover a stolen bike can be fruitless if the bike owner doesn’t have video of the theft or at least the serial number of the bike. 

Bikes are stolen because they are not stored securely. To reduce the risk of theft, it’s best to keep bikes indoors. Of course that is not always easy, but mounting a bike to the wall could be a good solution!

A bike lock is a great way to keep a bike secured outdoors if indoor storage is not an option. A bike lock is a simple device that secures the bike frame and at least one wheel to some solid structure, like a bike rack, handrail, or light post.

Bike locks are not only for people who have to store their bikes outdoors. In fact, every bike owner should keep a lock handy for times when the bike must be left outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. When looking to buy a bike lock there are a few things to consider to make sure you get the best one for your needs. For example, should you buy a cheap bike lock or buy the most heavy duty bike lock that money can buy?

Best Bike Locks in 2021

Chain Lock

U Lock

Cable Lock

cable bike locka closed u lock for a bicyclea locked chain lock for a bike
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What Are The Different Types Of Bike Locks?

There are three types of bike locks: chain, cable, and U-lock. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages (some bike locks are even foldable), as well as its own strengths and weaknesses. Finding the right bike lock for you will be up to getting the best balance between security and convenience for your needs.

 

Chain locks

A chain lock is a heavy-duty bike lock that consists of a durable chain, a keyed or combination lock, and a fabric sheath. The chain is usually made of extremely strong steel. This means that even though the chain will be tough to break, it adds a significant amount of weight either to your bike or your backpack.

Even the best chain will be a poor lock if the locking mechanism is not secure. Many people prefer the added safety of keyed locks, but others opt for the convenience of a combination lock. No matter what lock type you decide on, keep in mind that any lock is only as good as its weakest part, so make sure the lock itself looks strong. A strong option for chain with a keyed lock is this Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 chain.

The last part of a chain lock is the sheath. This serves to protect the bike’s paint from the abrasive chain. However, some people like the visual deterrent of seeing the chain. It is best to find a chain lock with a sheath, but you may look for one that keeps some chain exposed, like this tough-looking chain lock from OKG.

To sum up, the advantages of a chain lock are maximum strength and a high level of visual deterrence. Most chain locks will also be able to secure your frame and at least one of your wheels to the rail, rack, or post. However, they are bulky and heavy, making them inconvenient to keep with you.

 

U Locks

The next type of lock is a U lock. These consist of a U-shaped metal shackle that locks into a metal crossbar. Some models also come with a cable designed to secure one or both of the bike’s wheels as well as the frame. U locks are popular in particular for their strength and visual deterrence, but they are often awkward to use and carry and are not able to secure wheels unless paired with a cable.

Most of the security of a U lock comes from the shackle. This will need to be strong, but also look for locks that are rubberized or otherwise padded to prevent damage to your bike, such as this lock from Master Lock. This lock also has two locking mechanisms in the crossbar that help prevent prying, another feature to keep an eye out for when shopping.

However, even the most secure lock can’t protect your wheels if they are not also locked. For this reason, a lock like this one from Via Velo can be a good option due to its included cable. Simply loop the cable around the back and front wheels then secure it to the lock and your entire bike will be safe and sound.

U locks have the advantage of being a great visual deterrent and a strong lock, but by themselves they leave your wheels completely unprotected. However, when paired with a wheel cable, U locks are strong, portable, and secure.

 

Cable locks

Cable locks work just like chain locks, except they are made of strong metal cable instead of chain. Cable locks typically use rubber or vinyl to prevent scratching, and they may use combination or keyed locks. This style is the easiest to transport, but they lack some of the strength and visual deterrence of the other lock styles.

This Schwinn bike lock offers basic keyed security, along with a convenient bike mount to make carrying a breeze. This is the lightest and most convenient lock on the list, making it a good choice for people who don’t leave their bikes unattended for long.

For maximum convenience, check out a lock like this one from Titanker. This offers all of the same conveniences as the last lock along with a combination locking mechanism. You don’t need to worry about keeping up with a key and locking and unlocking will be a breeze!

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